Candace has a broad range of interests that keep her head filled with strange facts, such as experimental cooking, games, and mad science.
The Importance of Mucus
Booger, mucus, runny nose—whatever you call it, it is still gross. But did you know the color of your snot can tell you a lot about what is going on inside your body?
Excess mucus can be caused by allergies, viral infections, and bacterial infections, and the colors can vary wildly with all of these conditions.
What does your snot say about you?
Do you know what boogers are?
Boogers are made of dirt and dust that has gotten stuck inside your nose. The mucus covers it, and it eventually dries up.
This article will go into more detail about the different colors of snot and what they can mean; but first, a few commonly asked questions:
What Does Bright Yellow Snot Mean?
Though the color of your snot is by no means a definitive way to diagnose an illness, bright yellow snot generally indicates that your body is fighting off an infection. At the beginning of a cold (which usually lasts 10 - 14 days), the snot may be the brightest, possibly turning green or darker yellow after that.
Green Vs. Yellow Snot
You can have an infection and not have green snot, or you could not have an infection and have green snot. There is no direct correlation between the type of infection and the color of snot, though the color of your snot may give some indication as to the length of your infection.1
What About Orange Snot?
Very yellow or golden snot can sometimes look orange, and sometimes a little blood mixed in with the yellow snot can also cause it to have an orange-y appearance.
Snot Color Meaning Chart
This is normal, though excess clear mucus could indicate allergies
If caused by allergies, take antihistamines.
Dairy consumption or congestion
Usually resolves itself
Your body fighting off a virus or cold
See your doctor if it lasts more than a week or you develop a fever.
Viral, bacterial, or fungal infection
See your doctor if it lasts more than a week or you develop a fever.
The bacteria Pseudomonas pyocyanea
See your doctor if it lasts several days.
Orange, red, or reddish-brown
See your doctor if it lasts several days or if there is a lot of blood
Black or gray
Dirt, dust, or pollution
Stay indoors when pollution is bad.
What Is Mucus, Anyway?
It lines the nose and other organs,2 acting as a guard against bad stuff that might enter the body, such as dirt and germs. It is made of water, cells, salts, and mucin, which is a glycoprotein.
It goes by different names depending on its location in the body. Here are some terms you may hear, all referring to mucus found in the upper respiratory system:
- Snot—the stuff coming from the nose.
- Phlegm—the stuff in your throat and anything that you might cough up.
- Sputum—a coughed-up mixture of mucus and saliva.
- Postnasal drip—the stuff that flows from the nasal cavity down the throat.
Mucus Decoded: In Depth
Its color and texture can indicate what is going on in the body and can be signs of a virus, infection, or other problem. Read below to find out what the color of your mucus may mean.
Normal mucus is a clear color and is thick and viscous, similar to the texture of glue. You probably don’t have any infection or virus if your snot is clear.2 As long as your body isn’t producing too much or too little of it, and as long it is the right texture, you should be in good health.
If your body is producing an excess amount, the likely cause is allergies. Talk to your doctor about appropriate treatment.
If your snot is white, it usually means that you're congested.3 According to Cleveland Clinic, this can happen when your mucus loses moisture and flows more slowly due to the inflammation in your nostrils. The presence of white mucus alone is no cause for alarm and is considered normal. You could be congested for a number of reasons. Drinking milk can also cause your phlegm to thicken, thus turning it white.4
Though it might thicken your phlegm, dairy will not increase your phlegm production. Though many people think otherwise, a study published in the American Review of Respiratory Disease found that drinking milk does not increase mucus production.5
Did you know that the body produces about a liter of mucus a day?
Talk about being snotty.
If you have yellow snot, it can mean that you have a virus or a sinus infection and that your body is fighting something off. The color is produced by a type of white blood cell that responds to infections and inflammations.1 When the white blood cells die, they burst, releasing a green pigment. The green pigment mixes with the mucus, giving it a yellow color. The color is usually brighter at first, possibly even appearing neon yellow. It typically darkens over a few days.
Staphylococcus aureus bacteria typically produce a golden-yellow mucus. Dark yellow phlegm could mean bronchitis or another type of infection in the chest.
If it’s yellow, that does not necessarily mean that you need to go to the doctor. It just means your body is fighting against something. Remember, as of yet, there is no cure for the common cold, and antibiotics will only clear up bacterial infections. Viral infections just have to run their course. The best cure is your body’s own defenses.
See a doctor if the symptoms worsen or last longer than a week. You should also see a doctor you have a fever, headache, or a phlegmy cough for more than a few days.
Green snot is actually just caused by a thicker concentration of the white blood cells that cause yellow snot. The color is usually brighter at first and darkens over a few days. Though conventional wisdom holds that yellow snot means virus and green snot means a bacterial infection, there is actually no scientific evidence to prove this.
Most doctors, in fact, don't even use mucus color as a reliable tool of diagnosis. Both green and yellow snot can result from viral infections. According to Dr. Matthew Rank, the color of snot is actually more of an indication of the length of symptoms if anything.5
A bacterial infection can result from a virus, however. When your sinuses become inflamed, they swell. This causes mucus to become trapped in your nasal passages. Over time bacteria and fungi can begin to grow in your sinuses, in which case you might need antibiotics.
If the symptoms have lasted more than 12 days or seem to be getting worse, see a doctor, especially if you are experiencing fever, cough with sputum, headache, and sinus pressure.2
Mucus can turn blue because of a certain bacteria called Pseudomonas pyocyanea, also known as Pseudomonas aeruginosa. It's fairly rare—about one in 10,000 stuffed-up people will have blue snot. If it changes to a thick blue color that lasts several days, you should see a doctor.
Blue can also happen if you have inhaled blue powder or something else blue in the air or because of some other contaminant. If this is the case, it should clear up within a day or two.
Did you know that you can have different colored mucus in each nostril?
There could be an infection or sore in one side that is not in the other. Now that's a nose of a different color.
If your mucus is tinged red or reddish brown, it is usually a sign of blood.2 The presence of blood is not necessarily a cause for alarm. The blood can come from a variety of causes. For example:
- When the sinuses become inflamed, they can begin to bleed.
- Frequent nose-blowing can cause sores to form at the base of the nose. Taking care to blow and wipe the nose gently can prevent this.
- The tiny blood vessels in the nasal passages break easily, causing blood-tinged mucus. This can happen if the air is too dry, in which case using a saline spray to moisten the nasal passages will help.
- Picking or rubbing your nose can also cause your snot to have a little blood in it.
- If you are coughing up red or brown phlegm, it could be a sign of bronchitis.
- Smoking can also irritate nasal passages, leading to slight bleeding. This, combined with tiny tobacco particles, will turn it reddish-brown.
While a little bit of blood in your snot is not a problem, if you're blowing out large volumes of it, you should see a doctor.1
If there is a significant amount of blood that has lasted several days, you should see a doctor to determine the cause of the blood and whether treatment is necessary.
Brown or brownish-red snot is typically associated with smokers. It is mixed with particles from the cigarettes. Smoking can also irritate nasal passages, leading to slight bleeding. Smoking can also cause people to cough up brown/red phlegm rather than just blowing it out of their noses.
The way to ease the production of brown phlegm is to smoke less.
Inhaling dust and dirt, while often leading to gray or black mucus, can sometimes give it a brown tinge.
Black or Gray
Dark-colored mucus generally happens from inhaling pollutants in the air. The job of the mucus is to trap dirt or other particles and prevent them from getting further into the body. If there is ash, dirt, dust, smoke, or similar substances in the air, your nose will trap it.
Did you know that you could have purple, pink, or even blue snot?
Mixing up a pitcher of Kool-Aid can turn your snot the color of the drink if you accidentally breathe in a bit of the powder. Be careful not to breathe in powders, though. Those tiny particles are meant to go in your drink, not in your lungs!
How to Ease Cold Symptoms
Typically, a virus begins by producing an abundance of clear mucus, which turns a bright yellow or greenish color, then darkens over a few days, usually turning somewhat green. At the end of the virus, it may turn a brown/red color. It should then start clearing up, becoming less thick until it returns to normal.
Ways to ease your symptoms:
- Use nasal sprays, such as saline sprays, to keep the passages moist.
- Drink plenty of fluids to thin the mucus and keep your upper respiratory system moist.
- Don't starve a cold. Eating nutritious meals when you're sick is important. Your body needs the energy to fight off the bug.
- Ease fever and body aches with Tylenol.
- Reduce swelling and any inflammation with Ibuprofen.
- Steam and hot liquids can help ease congestion.
- Take Mucinex or another decongestant to loosen the phlegm and make coughs more productive.
- Suck on cough drops to keep the throat moist. A spoonful of honey also can help alleviate the cough.
- Take antihistamines to help alleviate the symptoms of cough if it is caused by allergies.
- See a doctor if you develop a fever that lasts for more than two days
- Avoid smoking and second-hand smoke.
Remember, strange-colored mucus doesn't always mean there is a problem. You should only be worried if it persists for over 12 days, especially when other symptoms such as fever, headache, and cough are present.
Of course, these colors are just an indication of what could be wrong, not a precise diagnosis. You can still have an infection even with clear mucus. If you are concerned about something with your body, see a doctor.
- Shmerling, Robert H, MD. "Don't Judge Your Snot By Its Color." February 8, 2016. Harvard Health Publications. Accessed April 3, 2017.
- Watson, Stephanie. Reviewed by Luqman Seidu, MD. "The Truth About Mucus." April 10, 2014. WebMD. Accessed April 3, 2017.
- Reviewed by Raj Sindwani, MD. "What the Color of Your Snot Really Means (Infographic.)" November 28, 2014. Cleveland Clinic. Accessed April 3, 2017.
- "Milk Products and Mucus in COPD." (n.d.) COPD Foundation. Accessed April 3, 2017.
- Pinnock, Graham, Mylvaganam, and Douglas. "Relationship between milk intake and mucus production in adult volunteers challenged with rhinovirus-2." Feb 1, 1990. American Review of Respiratory Diseases. Accessed April 3, 2017.
- Nierenberg, Cari. "You Think It's Mucus, but It's Not." December 10, 2008. ABC News. Accessed April 3, 2017.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
What Is and What 'Snot?
Mel on September 23, 2018:
Actually, I.came to this article because I have blue snot & I don't inhale anything through my nose excspt the air. I haven't been feeling very well. I've had multiple symptoms. I almost passed out the other day. I know what it's like to pass out too. I felt as though I was going to. I got my bearings though.
Paraic on May 29, 2017:
I'm waking every morning with blood and brown snot on my pillow dry snot and blood in my nose very sore head should I be concerned going on months now
Been sick for 16 days already... on April 22, 2017:
-liquidy snot is bright yellow
-thicker snot/boogers are bright green
The stuff I'm coughing up all the time:
riley on February 26, 2017:
I have been coughing up solid red yellow, and white mucus from a big bump in my nasal cavity. Any ideas.
Bonnita Claus on January 04, 2017:
In the morning, most days, I have 1 pr 2 clearing of my nose. It is usually very thick pale yellow with some green and often with a very thing thread of blood. It seems to be mostly rubbery. I seldom have to blow my noise the rest of the day, but when in the bathroom or working in kitchen my nose runs with a clear water. I assume a combination of activity and higher humidity brings this about. I have a theory that in the morning I am clearing out what my victims immune system, indicating I am healthy.
Am I right in thinking so? And have nothing to worry about. All my systems are go... note: 2 years ago I moved, improved my diet, now I no longer live in a state of stress, I have not taken antibiotics now since my last Cold that turned into a sinus infection about 2-1/2 yrs ago. I had one cold this year, lasted about 2-1/2 weeks, never developed a secondary infection, I refused to take antibiotics, waited to see if I developed and infection. My doctor wanted me to take preventive action with Antibiotics. I believe I did right for me.
mbroome on November 20, 2016:
Did a z pack for a cold 2 weeks ago blowing long strings looking light yellow occasionally is this normal. No fever
Unins000.exe on October 08, 2016:
Mine is bright purple . . .
Hurt all over on July 30, 2016:
Yellow/thick headace,pain in chest and back can't lay down without feeling like I'm drowning, took Mucinex DM also Robitussin DM only got worse now hurts to breathe or cough
roob on March 26, 2016:
That is SNOT true. Lol just kidding.
Ced Yong from Asia on March 16, 2016:
Okay, this is yeeky. But I can see that the yeekier it gets, the more attention you need to pay attention to it. :I
Sandi Kroeger from Minnesota, USA on March 02, 2016:
I have to say that, even after more than 30 years as a registered nurse, I have never seen anyone with blue snot...but reading about all the colors of snot made for a great hub. Thanks
aaditirani on February 11, 2016:
grate post i have ever read in this month thanking you for the useful information
IrateOrator on February 09, 2016:
This article completely grossed me out, but it is very informative and has me considering cutting back from smoking cigarettes
Mary from From the land of Chocolate Chips,and all other things sweet. on February 07, 2016:
Great informative hub, I didn't know people could actually have blue snot.
John R Wilsdon from Superior, Arizona USA on February 06, 2016:
This was an extremely extensive hub on the subject of snot. It is a great read during cold season, snot*hing could beat it. I vote this up despite the attempt at humor. Good job.
StyleinCraft on January 31, 2016:
StyleinCraft on January 21, 2016:
Thanks for sharing this information.
Melissa on January 16, 2016:
I have yellow sometimes green snot. It's been very dry out and cold and I'm wondering if that is causing this? When I use the nasal sprays it's yellow a couple times when I blow my nose then turns clear. I don't have any headaches or fever . Do I have a cold or infection ? Or is just dry ?
StyleinCraft on January 12, 2016:
I’ve done lots of research on blogging and your suggestions are amazing, clear, simple and thorough.
StyleinCraft on January 12, 2016:
Very Interesting. I also wish I knew how to implement some of this complex Features.
Maurice Glaude from Mobile on January 04, 2016:
I feel much better but I'm still dealing with Chest congestion. I don't normally get sick and haven't had a cold in over 3 years. Thanks for the refresher course on cold and mucus.
Amanda Holzinger from Pennsylvania on December 30, 2015:
Very informative! I shared this with my sister who has a 5 year old and she is alwaysn googling the colors of his mucus haha. voted up!
Ansel Pereira on October 16, 2015:
This has got to be one of the most detailed posts on varied aspects of mucous I have read in years. Well-researched and engaging in every sense. I used to develop dry mucous as a kid, not anymore. Great hub.
GreenMind Guides from USA on October 08, 2015:
Ew gross. But also wonderful. How did you manage both? Great hub.
Frank Quake on October 07, 2015:
I think this can be a good hub in person. I even have a girl World Health Organization has CF thus I've learned lots concerning secretion however such a large amount of individuals don't have any plan. i do know i used to be one amongst those individuals before Her designation and that i suppose this can be terribly helpful for everybody.
stella vadakin from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619 on October 02, 2015:
Hi , thought I would read your hub with cold season upon us. I really like the table chart you have included. Thanks, Stella
Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on October 02, 2015:
Very useful and important article for everyone.
Robert Morgan on July 13, 2015:
Good article. Just finish all the antibiotics because Now, I a bloody nose mixed with clear when I blow my nose. Going back to see a Naturopath this time.
Aladdins Cave from Melbourne, Australia on June 27, 2015:
Great Hub, full of good information, BAR one !
I strongly recommend people STOP smoking, not reduce it.
Gave you thumbs up
Cheers from DOWNUNDER
Monique from Wichita, Ks on June 07, 2015:
I think this is a great hub personally. I have a daughter who has CF so I've learned a lot about mucus but so many people have no idea. I know I was one of those people before Her diagnosis and I think this is very useful for everyone.
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on June 04, 2015:
Congrats on HOTD and the tons of comments here, especially since it's very useful, when it's cold and flu season, or due from allergies. Great job with informing us on mucus colors and their causes. Voted up!
Misha on June 03, 2015:
two days ago iwas a lil disoriented then i left work and instantly felt like i had a sore throat, the was fine for w few hours then i went into shakes and sweats and tried to sleep with no luck lol.... had to pee alot and had extreme fatigue in my bones and body.
i took some benilyn and my throat felt a slight bit better but nothing else really...then i started sneezing and it doesnt feel or sound like my normal sneewze its itchier and more squeeky than normal idk whyi think this but i do it doesnt feel like a normal sneeze... anyways my mucus is chunky whit/yellow and it has slightly bloody patched nothing over the top or anythiing but it has beentwo days now of like me sneezing a glob half way across the room of this gross stuff...i do have pets which i have slight allergy to so i assume they are making my nasal passage more irritated but i just wanted to make sure its not too serius
Terry Hoover from Denham Springs, Louisiana on May 15, 2015:
I had no idea that snot and boogers were so interesting! Nice work here on this unusual topic. Keep up the great writing. Voted useful.
Colin Garrow from Inverbervie, Scotland on April 21, 2015:
Who'd have thought snot could be so interesting! Great Hub.
regular teen on April 13, 2015:
im 13 and i have brown mucus come out but i don't smoke
Lloyd Benitez De Guzman from Puerto Princesa City, Puerto Princesa, Philippines on April 12, 2015:
A very informative article. Nice!
Krzysztof Willman from Parlin, New Jersey on April 10, 2015:
Wonderfully written and thoroughly explained. It may be "gross" to some but that's just a part of life and you want to make sure that you're always healthy and kickin'. Great informative hub. Voted up.
Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on February 21, 2015:
Beautifully written article about a not so beautiful subject. Very informative, thank you very much for posting.
Ammon Beardmore on February 13, 2015:
This is gross yet extremely helpful! Thanks for posting.
SUNSHYNE from California, US on February 13, 2015:
Very informative hub. I just went to the doctor today and he told me I have severe allergies. Uggh. Everything is blooming early this year and that doesn't help one bit, or the fact that every person that walks in front of me lately seems to be a smoker. lol. (and if I had blue snot I would FREAK OUT) Thanks for the hub!
IrisMcdonald on February 11, 2015:
I really appreciate this article and will be passing the very clear very informative information on to friends. I think it gives people simple guides to reassurance and confidence to trust their own judgement .
Jodie on February 10, 2015:
Excellent and informative article :)
wingedshadowwolf on January 31, 2015:
Found this site because my snot has the bright yellow color of a highlighter marker! I'm just getting over a cold so this must be it hanging on, or a secondary infection. I've had some really green/yellow snot before but this was a new color to me!
Oscar Jones from Monroeville, Alabama on January 23, 2015:
I have previously experienced acute sinus infection that turned into viral pneumonia that put me out for thirty days. it started I believe it was triggered by sanding, using sheetrock mud and the mixture, I was snotting up white pasty phlegm but when the sinuses got to draining, I was bigtime dehydrating and then all colors and then solid black/ lung phlegm, but you can argue it was still sinus infection drainage, I could not hold my head up,serious headaches put me down, and put me out of consciousness. , could not stay hydrated, oh what a royal mess. well at the end of it and after air vaced to hospital 400 miles away, and thirty days I will never remember, doctors mixed up something one last time to try to save me, it was something like septra-antibiotic, while under almost total oxygen.. end of story, I am well today.. I am thankful. I will say this, A doctors recommendation is that you ask for real Sudafed from behind the counter with decongestant,. that the new aids outside on the shelves are not effective. pheneffreline is not able to do what the old Sudafed meds can do. --
The Schreibfeder on January 23, 2015:
This is the most beautiful hub on this site. Thank you for blessing me with it. Voted up.
Mynoseistired on January 18, 2015:
Hi. I have had ( what I thought to be a cold) for about two weeks now. Sometimes my mucus is clear, sometimes it is yellow, yesterday it was brown. I don't smoke; and my other nostril is painfully dry. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
sore chick on January 12, 2015:
Ok so im 24 i have been smoking for 10 years. Now i have been sick for 5 days. My throat has been swelled the whole time at first i coughed up dried blood then the next day i did again fever and all except the blood was fresh. I started taking antibiotics from the hospital now i feel like i got a big chuck of dried phlem. Ahhhhh it hurts wat should i do
Erica petras on January 03, 2015:
So my mucus that I coughed up last night was a thick gooey, like brownish reddish color. I have a sore throat and I haven't been getting much rest because of how I feel. Help?
Barbara Fitzgerald from Georgia on December 27, 2014:
Thoroughly disgusting; totally useful - Voted thumbs up and useful. Thanks for sharing with us!
Fatima Sultan from Manama, Bahrain on December 27, 2014:
I have a cold....and you just helped me decide whether or not to go the doctor. Great Hub on a Gross subject. Thanks!
Cotswold-G on December 27, 2014:
ptosis from Arizona on December 22, 2014:
Had a nasty head cold in Oct. It was like Gorilla Glue or a one-armed Octopus that was so thick you could stretch it 3 feet and wouldn't snap. Had plugged Estruction tube, after steroids, and Bactrim I still have a problem. At one point had a chicken embryo come out. Clear mucus with a yellow blob in the middle. My face feels like somebody decked me. Going to dentist in Jan when insurance kicks in.
Thank you for allowing me to talk about gross stuff.
Muhammad Haris on December 09, 2014:
My mucus is brownish in one side and yellowish in other, in start (about 2 weeks ago) it was yellow, then green and now i am taking cefixime trihydrate and mucus is brownish, what does it means?
Giant1309 on November 18, 2014:
My mucus is clear but with very light specs of blood I have a sore throat so I don't know whether this has anything to do with it. Any reassurance would be great
Katlin153 on November 09, 2014:
My mucus is bloody and i have a sore throat. That might tie in with my mucus problem. A student in my class cant miss a day in collage, and he has strep throat. Now my throat hurts and i have bloody mucus. I am 80% sure i have strep now.
allie on October 16, 2014:
Ive been blowing like a yellowish-green looking mucus for 3 days now its feels as if i cant breath at night because i wake up and blow my nose four times befor i cant breath out it. I have been using my inhaler cause im an asthmatic sorry i cant spell it right.cause im haveing a hard time breathing
Alex on October 11, 2014:
I've had an illness of some kind, symptoms coming on rather suddenly; painful chest, cough, nausea, runny nose, a raised temperature and a bit of an upset tummy. At first the snot was green, but now it seems to be more clear. Is this a good sign? A sign of recovery? I do hope so, because I feel awful haha.
Kalyan on October 11, 2014:
I have been having bad mornings I'll wake up I outside every morning and my nostrils will begin to swell like if I try blowing my nose there's nothing there but I have to spit up mucus during the morning every morning I went to the doctor she said it was respiratory infection but It never went away I use mucinex it doesn't really help much but it's really thick and I have to spit it up or I can't breathe because it blocks the air way I don't blow my nose anymore it basically goes down my throat and I'll have to spit it up to get rid of it that way and at night I have to constantly clear my throat and spit up little mucus it's yellow like a almost darkish yellow any help with that?
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on October 06, 2014:
Kris - You may have irritated sinuses. It could be caused by allergies, irritants, or even if your body is fighting off something. Try taking Mucinex with decongestant. Steam usually helps with sinus pressure. A warm compress can also. Hope you feel better soon!
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on October 06, 2014:
Mel - Do you wear blue eye shadow or other makeup? If so, it could be caused by that. If not, then you definitely should have it looked at.
kris on October 03, 2014:
So I haven't been sick at all, but two days ago I woke up with a killer headache (which hasn't went away yet), & a burning at the top of my throat behind my nose. Alot of pressure! I've only been able to blow my nose once in three days! It was THICK, yellow, & had a good amount of blood in it.
Mel on September 25, 2014:
Hello, on and off for the last two years or so sometimes when I'm feeling a bit rundown or coldy I have an irritated eye which keeps watering until a spit up a small kind of solid bluey grey ball. Only millimeters thick. It is a kind of soft chalky texture when broken. Should I get this checked out? Thanks :)
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on September 22, 2014:
Becky - Wow! You've definitely had a hard time getting answers. My guess is that it wasn't just mucus. But there isn't any other way I know of to find out what exactly it was.
If you are worried about your health, though, I would suggest seeing a gastrointestinal specialist. They can check you out, test for parasites, and maybe even do a colonoscopy to look in your intestines to see if there is anything to be concerned about. That may ease your mind about the mystery stuff.
Good luck! You may not get a definitive answer about the stuff, but you can get reassurance about any problems.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on September 22, 2014:
Mark - It means there is a busted blood vessel, probably just from being irritated. No need to worry unless it goes on for several days.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on September 22, 2014:
Geoffahfah - There is a small percentage of people who have problems with sinus rinses. But most people can use them without any problems and they find them helpful. Anyone using them should make sure to follow the instructions and get a doctor's approval first.
John Hollywood from Hollywood, CA on September 06, 2014:
Just wanted to say very informative hub! I've always wondered what the different colors mean. Now I know. Voted up!
Becky on September 05, 2014:
Hi me again, ok am going to brave the question! As I can't find a way to personally email you. Hoping you will reply soon.
I will cut to the chase.... Had something sticking out of my orifice eek! It wasn't with a bowel movement, it was after some very terrible pressure feelings in my lower bowel, and itching.. After investigation I found this thing sticking out so pulled it. I put it in a test tube bottle and added water to be able to see it clearly. I studied it and tried comparing it to vegetables I had eaten to see if they had come out I digested I even took some toilet roll and added that to the water to see if it looked the same, that broke down quickly and so realised it was not that. I then thought I was dealing with some kind of flat worm and as this had distinct markings I spent some time looking at lots of close up pictures of worms in humans and found one that looked identical and it was a tapeworm. I then freaked as you would do and rang the docs. My doc was not in for 5 days but I didn't feel comfortable sharing this information with anyone but him so decided to wait it out. I got to speak to him on the phone days later and he agreed to send it off.. I ended up taking it to my local hospital and long story short they lost it, then found it, then wouldn't test it because it was in a liquid, when I tried to get it back to send to tropical disease they said they would look at it after all and needed to wait for the technician to come in to look at it. So by now it was 2 weeks before he looked. When I handed it over it was still in the same form, had not changed shape, puffed up, it was just degrading, as in the distinct markings were becoming fainter. I imagine after another week they would have been very faint indeed. The report back to my doctor is that is was mucus. And now my doctor won't help. I have been ill for years with many unexplained health problems and am concerned that I have had a tapeworm and I feel that maybe if I knew that mucus could stay the same when exposed to water, that would help me find the answers I need desperately.
I hope I haven't freaked anyone out.. And this is a very unusual question but if I can't find the answers I need here please could you tell me who may know. Thanks so much.
mark on August 20, 2014:
what if it is color red
Will B. from Cheyenne, WY. on August 18, 2014:
Not so sure I would trust netty pots tgough , my uncle had severe reactions with his sinuses even with distilled water. Doctors informed him that the inflammation in his sinuses mixed with arid conditions caused bleeding sores and and infection. The netty pot caused it to become to dry after the rinse.
Becky on August 17, 2014:
Hi again. I put a post up a while ago and I didn't get the answer I needed but you said to try again and you will see if you can help. However I feel embarrassed about it and wondered if I could PM you somehow? Thanks
Shawn Holmes on August 10, 2014:
Great hub and great information! Don't forget nasal rinses and sinus flushes help the body deal with inhaled allergens and excess snot. They help prevent progression to sinus infection. Be sure to use only distilled water though.
Linda Sarhan from Lexington KY USA on August 08, 2014:
This has to be one of the most disgusting topics, I have seen. lol BUT this is an amazingly helpful Hub, packed with great information and advice. Nicely, done!
Maggie.L from UK on August 08, 2014:
I always wondered what caused snot to be green. Great hub, full of informative advice. Thanks.
thebrownbear on August 05, 2014:
Thank you for this informative hub. I have often wondered what the different colours have meant over the years and have never taken the time to look it up. So I appreciated getting some answers after reading this since I'm just getting over a cold myself.
sonic on August 04, 2014:
Hi. Just hi.
Rebecca Sutton from Rock Hill, SC on August 02, 2014:
I will spare you the gross-factor, but let's just say your hub was very helpful ;) Thank you!
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on July 21, 2014:
melissaannec - If you aren't taking an antihistamine, try that. A nasal spray like Nasacort might be good to try also. If that doesn't help, you might want to talk to a doctor about the possibility that it is acid reflux or something that needs antibiotics.
melissaannec on July 14, 2014:
I'm a ex smoker. I have Problems with coughing up dark green and thick mucus. It seems to be never ending. I've had bronchitis before, loose my voice several times a year. I cough up phlegm very regularly.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on July 11, 2014:
Becky - What is the further question you have? Maybe I can help or point you to somewhere else.
Becky on July 11, 2014:
Again thank you for your time in answering me. It has and it hasn't given me the answer I seek. I don't know how to find the answer I need?
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on July 09, 2014:
Becky - If it the piece were just mucus, then it should break down in a similiar way. But the thickness of the mucus and consistency and exact ratios of ingredients of it could be different in different parts of the body.
One of the purposes of mucus from the nose is to clear out "junk" that gets in like dirt, dust, etc. Gastric mucus that could come out from down below protects and coats the inside of organs as food is processed. So even though "pure" mucus is the same basic stuff all throughout the body, other stuff like dirt or food or digestive juices is very likely to be mixed in with it when it comes out, ahem, orifices. That could affect the way the mucus would break down.
And additionally something coming out of the anus might not actually be mucus but something else the digestive system has processed that just happens to look like mucus. Does that answer your question?
Becky on July 08, 2014:
Brilliant thank you for answering that. Now to take my question further as gross as it may sound. I tested a piece of dried nasal mucus (it came out dry) by putting it into a tube filled with vodka... My very un medical preservative lol. I returned to it the next day to find it looked like a fluffy white cloud. So that obviously follows with your response. So if mucus is mucus, if a dried piece of something was protruding from the anus and it was put in the same vodka solution, should it break down exactly the same as I'm assuming it would? Or could the fact that it may have been there longer internally affect the breakdown of it? I know it seems bizzare but I will elaborate further when I know the answer to that. Totally appreciate your reply and a very interesting site.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on July 07, 2014:
Lori - Thanks for pointing that out. Mucus color is not the only indicator doctors use to diagnose. Don't ignore serious or long-lasting symptoms.
Michelle A - Hope your problem got cleared up. It sounds like it was a bad cold. Hope it ran its course and you are feeling better.
bizg - VapoRub often helps with cough. Mucinex with a decongestant is another good medicine to take when you have a cold.
Burger - Hope you are better now. Sounds like you had a cold or virus back to back or one that turned into a sinus infection.
Yorik - You should look into allergies. You may be allergic to certain foods that are causing you problems. Check with an allergist or with a ear, nose, and throat specialist.
Kathleen Odenthal, jlpark, Glutathione PRO, and securityproducts3 - Thank you! :)
Leslie Ann - It could be just junk from the cigarettes that you are coughing up, but you should definitely be checked by a doctor to make sure.
Becky - Yes mucus throughout your body is made from the same essential elements - water and glycoproteins. Hope that helps.
Becky on July 06, 2014:
Hi. I hope I have found the person that can answer my question about mucus. Can you answer is the mucus that comes out of the nose essentials made from the same elements as the mucus from throat and then to go further than that.. Anal mucus? If you answer that mucus is mucus wherever in the body that may help my search for information. Then you may be able to help with the question that would come off your reply. I'm hoping so anyway.
securityproducts3 on June 25, 2014:
Wow this was super interesting, thanks for posting!
Leslie Ann on June 25, 2014:
I have been a smoker for 11 years.... but I'd say for the past 1 1/2 years, (I had a cold but very much better.) I have been coughing up this grayish, speckled, and thick phlegm. I know I should quit and I have definitely cut back but I don't know if I should be worried. I cough it up at all times of the day. It's awful! Any advice or help would be awesome! Thank you so much!
Ken Williams on June 21, 2014:
Gross, and eye opening! Great hub!
Jacqui from New Zealand on June 14, 2014:
Interesting hub! I liked that you explained how it becomes green etc - as a nurse I knew WHY it was green, but not how it got green!.
Kathleen Odenthal from Bridgewater on May 31, 2014:
Not to sound snotty, but I am quite the mucus queen and found this hub extremely insightful! thank you for this. voted up and shared!
Yorik on May 24, 2014:
I had a cold like forever, it recurs every week or in 5 days I have severe headaches, a sore throat and mucus that starts from light green to dark green and then brown or dark red, I have visited several doctors and none have been able to pin point my aliment could u pls point me out in the right direction
Burger on May 08, 2014:
So I was sick for a couple weeks and my mucus was think yellow with brown speckles. Then a few days after I got better I'm sick again. But this time with more mucus and its more of an orange yellow color with specks... Other symptoms are sore throat, headache , body aches and pains, chills and difficulty sleeping... Just wondering if I should be worried or just let it run its course or what? Thanks
bizg from USA on May 05, 2014:
This is such a great article . I am having cough and cold , and reading whats different colors of mucous mean is very interesting. Is vicks vapor rub the best thing to use at this time?
Michelle A on May 04, 2014:
Coughing up white foamy phlegm a few times during the day and a couple hours at different times during the night for about a week. Now my left ear is clogged. I am on a diet eating no fat and no dairy, please help can't deal much longer. Can't breathe our talk during coughing fits. Cough drops don't help neither did nasal spray or mucinex. What's wrong with me? Don't have money to c Dr.
Lori on April 13, 2014:
Hi, Just wanted to add that a few years ago when I had really bad pneumonia the phlegm from my lungs was white. White can often mean pneumonia so never ignore it if you have a deep cough along with it.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on April 12, 2014:
Sanya - That is definitely something to discuss with your doctor. The black could be from something you are breathing in (smoke, air pollution, dust, etc.). If you can figure out the cause of that and eliminate it, your mucus problem might clear up.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on April 12, 2014:
Alex - Mucinex with a decongestant may help. Using Vaporub on your chest and/or the bottom of your feet can help with nighttime coughing as well. If it hasn't cleared up yet, then it is probably time to see a doctor about it.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on April 12, 2014:
giant1309 - The change in smoking could definitely be part of it. If your lungs are clearing out, it's a good thing.
sanya on April 08, 2014:
i have severe cold for the last few months...and now m feeling better...but nowadays my mucus colour turned black....worried about that...m pregnant also..pls give advice....
Alex on April 07, 2014:
I've had a cold for just over a week so far, and I've been kept up coughing most nights. I've tried various medications to ease this symptom, as well as taking honey, herbal tea, etc, but nothing seems to ease the congestion in my throat. The mucus from my nose has turned from green, to yellow, and, as I discovered today, an orangey-red colour. Any suggestions?
giant1309 on April 05, 2014:
I have cut down on smoking whereas before I would have around six a day I am having 1 a day so I am wondering whether my lungs are trying to clear out of all the toxins